Friday, September 4, 2015

A step back in time on the Bowery



The Subway (sandwich shop) closed on the Bowery at the end of June. The storefront at 342 Bowery between Great Jones and Bond is currently for rent.

While recently researching 342 Bowery, Jeff Klepper, who was born and raised in Manhattan and now lives in Boston, came across our Subway closing post.

He shared the following photo with us... of his great-grandfather, Aaron Klepper, in front of his diamonds and jewelry shop at 342 Bowery just about 100 years ago ...


[Photo courtesy of Jeff Klepper]

We asked Jeff for a few more details, such as if his great-grandfather and family lived in the apartment above the shop.

Aaron's daughter, my great-aunt Sue, talked about living "behind the store" in one large room, in which her father had built some partitions. There was no heat, except for a kerosene stove, and the toilet was outside in back. But I think she was referring to their tenement on Allen Street.

I'm guessing they moved to the Bowery around 1905, and probably lived in an apartment above the store, because she said that her father would "go upstairs" to sleep when he was ill.

Jeff said that this photo had been hanging in his house for years, but he never knew the street until one of his cousins figured it out based on the 1920 census records.

13 comments:

pinhead said...

Fantastic... Thanks for sharing this, Jeff.

Anonymous said...

This is why people should always fill out and return their census forms.

Anonymous said...

LOVE THIS....so cool to learn about the past.

Anonymous said...

Love this. To see how interesting a store it was, to its latest incarnation as a sandwich chain store where the bread and meats are not quite bread and something like meat. What next? Perhaps a macaron store, a 7/11, a nail/pedicure sweatshop, a mini Duane Reade, or a TD Bank branch, perhaps a rip-off tax preparation pop-up for the next 6 months.

Anonymous said...

Everything looks better in sepia.

Anonymous said...

So great, thanks!

Anonymous said...

I lived at 334, a few doors away, in the early '80's

VH McKenzie said...

Love this! What a treasure to have that photo of your grandfather, Jeff!
Perhaps Albert, of the soon-to-close cobbler shop on East 9th should inquire about the space We are losing cobblers as quickly as we are gaining fro-yos.

Helgen X said...

Honestly I think this won't ever be another store again. That's what's happening right now, rent is too high so eventually these places will be shuttered down and vandalized like back in the day. History repeats itself.

Goggla said...

Nice! We could use a shop like that today.

paddy523 said...

That was great!!! Hey Jeff any more cool old photo's???

Scuba Diva said...

I recall there was a "Klepper Folding Boats" on Union Square West for many years; is this any relation?

Blogger Helgen X said...
Honestly I think this won't ever be another store again. That's what's happening right now, rent is too high so eventually these places will be shuttered down and vandalized like back in the day. History repeats itself.

Then landlords will start renting storefronts to individuals to live in when the market collapses? Yay!

Michael Netter said...

I have lived at 342 Bowery since 1973. Andy Warhol owned the building at that time. What makes you sure this is 342 Bowery? There are a lot of 342s. Does the 1900 census list a jewelry store (pawn shop) at 342 Bowery? (Store has been rented and is being renovated. Will be cool restaurant.)